Kubernetes as a service: What is it - and do you really need it?

We have seen that, with the acquisition of Heptio, how Kubernetes is well integrated into product stacks of VMware and launched new commercial and open source solutions. 

VMware’s motive is to shift to container based infrastructure powered with Kubernetes and participate in the competitive data centre market. Additionally, Kubernetes has been well received by public cloud and other leading tech vendors by showing full-stack support to manage containers either on bare metal or the cloud.

We are now in the era where every technology backend, infrastructure or platform is being sold in the form of an ‘as a service’ model, Kubernetes is adopted by more than 30 solution providers to offer bundled, managed and customised Kubernetes as a service (KaaS).

But investment, deployment and later management of Kubernetes might raise risks and challenges to organisations that want the rapid transformation to modern infrastructure to support dynamic needs by consumers. KaaS solution providers are coming up with an end-to-end solution that will save them from dead investment and time consumption, plugin most secure way. Let’s understand what KaaS is and what are its benefits and features.

What is Kubernetes as a service (KaaS)?

Kubernetes as a service is a type of expertise offered by a solution or product engineering provider companies, to help customers to shift to cloud-native enabled Kubernetes based platform and manage the lifecycle of K8s clusters.

This can include migration of workloads to Kubernetes clusters; deployment, management, and sustenance of Kubernetes clusters on the customer's data centre. KaaS mainly handles day one and day two operations while moving to Kubernetes native infrastructure, along with features like self service, zero-touch provisioning, scaling and multi-cloud portability.

Why do organisations need KaaS?

In the roadmap of digital transformation to gain a competitive edge in the market, companies are shifting their workloads to containers and integrating container orchestration platforms to manage their containerised workloads. Now, workloads might be applications decomposed into microservices (hosted by containers), backends, API servers, storage units, or so on. To accomplish this procedure, organisations may need expert resources and time to implement the transition. Later on, the sustenance team needs to deal with intermittent issues like scaling, upgrades of K8s stacks, policy changes, and more. 

Organisations cannot afford to spend time as well as money in this transformation as the pace of innovation is rapid. This is where Kubernetes as a service comes in to rescue organisations offering customised solutions based on organisations' existing requirements and scale of the data centre, keeping budget constraints in mind. Some of the benefits of KaaS are:

  • Security: Deployment of the Kubernetes cluster can be easy once we understand the service delivery ecosystem and data centre configuration. But this can lead to open tunnels for external malicious attacks. With KaaS, we can have policy-based user management so that users of infrastructure get proper permission to access the environment based on their business needs. Also, KaaS providers follow security policies that can prohibit most of the security attacks similar to the network firewall.

    Normal Kubernetes implementation exposes API server to the internet, inviting attackers to break into servers. With KaaS, some vendors enable the best VPN options to hide the Kubernetes API server
     
  • Saving in investment for resources: Customised KaaS allows organisations to procrastinate requirements for investment for resources, be it a team to handle KaaS terminals or physical resources to handle storage and networking component within infrastructure. Organisations get a better overview while KaaS is in place
     
  • Scaling of infrastructure: With KaaS in place, IT infrastructure can scale rapidly. It is possible due to high-level automation provided with KaaS. This saves a lot of time and bandwidth of the admin team

What do you get exactly?

Effective day two operations: This includes patching, upgrading, security hardening, scaling, and public cloud IaaS integration. These are all important as container-based workload management comes into the picture. And, when we consider Kubernetes, it may still not fit use cases of the data centre for particular organisations as most of the best practices are still evolving to match up innovation. 

Additionally, if we apply containers in infrastructure positive results should be expected rather than backtracking of strategies. KaaS have predefined policies and procedures that can be customised for organisations to meet ever-changing demands of organisations with Kubernetes.

Multi-cloud portable: Multi-cloud is new trend emerged in 2019 wherein containerised applications will be portable across different public and private cloud. Also, access to existing applications will be shared in a multi-cloud environment. In this case, having KaaS will be useful so that developers can focus on building applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. With KaaS, managing and portability will be with the KaaS provider.

Central management: KaaS gives admins to create and manage Kubernetes clusters from a single UI terminal. Admin has better visibility of all components within overall clusters and performs continuous health monitoring using tools like Prometheus and Grafana. Admins can upgrade the Kubernetes stack along with different frameworks used in the setup. 

It is also possible to remotely monitor Kubernetes clusters, check for any glitches in configuration, and send alerts. Additionally, the KaaS admin can apply patches to clusters if they find any security vulnerability associated with the technology stack deployed within clusters. Admin can reach out to any pods or containers in a network of the different clusters using a single pane of glass provided with KaaS.

Conclusion

Implementing Kubernetes is not just a solution, but it might create several issues that can cause security as well as resource consumption. Kubernetes as a service offerings are a breather for enterprises and organisations ranging from large scale to small scale who already have shifted workloads to a containerised model or are planning to do so. 

KaaS can increase the deployment speed of the Kubernetes cluster along with a raise in the performance of containerised infrastructure. With KaaS, organisations get single-handed support for their infrastructure which will allow them to focus on the services layer.

https://www.cybersecuritycloudexpo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/cyber-security-world-series-1.pngInterested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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